In the final episode of our Nepal Food series, we bring you a few classic pre-meal delicacies-both savoury and sweet- from the Himalayan Kingdom. The brief food tour with our hosts Kamal Bhatta and Susan Karmacharya ended with a visit to the local vegetable market. Kamal is a professional filmmaker and a food enthusiast who keeps exploring the food scene in Kathmandu. Susan is an avid food explorer with deep knowledge of Nepalese cuisine.
We started with the traditional breakfast dish from eastern Nepal called Bhakka. It is specific to the Rajbanshi community from Jhapa district of Nepal. These are simple and fluffy, steamed rice flour cake that tastes amazing with freshly made tomato chilli chutney. Overall they made a decent breakfast fare. Here they also made chocolate bhakka which is essentially plain bhakka with a chocolate-filled center. It was delicious. The combination of the bland yet wonderful texture of the rice cake with the decadent chocolate taste felt great.
Soon we were joined by Susan who took us to a home-based sweet-making unit of a very popular shop in Kathmandu. We were there to taste a few of the traditional Nepalese sweets. The inviting aromas from the fresh batches of Gudpak and Pushtikari were all around. Though it made us restless, we still patiently watched it taking shape. Finally, it was time to sink our teeth into the dense and rich Gudpak. It was optimally sweet, greasy, and a bit smoky. Susan also made us try some Lakhamari and Pustakari. The first one is a hard, crunchy, deep-fried sweet snack made of flour. Pushtakari is a hard toffee made of Khoya and nuts. These wholesome snacks are usually made for growing-up kids. The caramelized sweet taste was really interesting.
Then we went to take a tour of the local vegetable market named Lagankhel. It was a lively marketplace full of cheerful vegetable vendors. Susan and Kamal introduced us to some of the most popular vegetables that are quintessential to Nepalese cuisine. What a gratifying day it was to savour the simple and commonplace Nepalese snacks and to soak in the sight of the fresh produce that goes into the yummy dishes.